We bought a five acre place.  Seeing it the first time, I swear Redd Foxx ambled out to us: Sanford and Son.  Hoarders had hidden cameras.

We bought 5.5 acres.  One acre is a pond, so 4.5 acres.  The folks living there 30 years kept everything.

I thought $20K to get rid of junk, but I was wrong!  In America people collect everything.  Everything.  In a hundred countries I might bury it all in a ravine or public dump — my grand children’s future ski hill.

But in the U. S. entrepreneurs and collectors, hold auctions!  On a rainy Saturday cars, trucks and trailers wedged in everywhere.  The food truck’s fusion tacos were delicious.

People bought a long-dead work-over rig, two trucks, a Mercedes complete with seven-foot snake, and Lincoln Continental with four field mice nests.  Think field mouse bigger than a squirrel.  Oh, and a motor home with a dead body.  Not really, but it smelled like it.

Miracle!  Buyers paid money, and then carted everything off on trailers!

They bought six boats: sail boat, pontoon boat and smaller ones.  Buyers brought tires, put tires on old trailers and drove away with boats.

One bought and winched out of trees a 25 foot trailer piled 12 feet high with styrofoam: a boat dock in an alternate universe future.  Women paid for the privilege of first, second and third pass through 2,000 glass jars.  I recycled 9 boxes.  She bought all five pumps with handles.  He didn’t buy four sewing machines, but bought the eight fall tall, all-wood cabinet with 56 drawers full of door knobs, electrical insulators: pure treasure.  Loaded it and drove off.

Someone bought the storage shed, and “dog house”: a metal building you park on a drilling floor of a large rig: and its materials (spark plugs, air and oil filters, carburetor kits).  Winched them onto a flatbed and drove off.

Then a “steel guy” brought chain saws and a massive tractor to pull 14 farm implements, including two manure spreaders — one of which he sold the owner 20 years ago.  He cut trees growing up through tractors and implements, and winched them out from vine snarls.

That left five pickup loads of cardboard, two of glass, three of recyclable plastics, and one huge roll-off of uncyclables.  That left shrubs, poison ivy, briers, trash trees, and monster vines shielding skids of shingles, tons of termite infused hardwood flooring, 1,500 bricks and concrete blocks, four trailers of oilfield pipe, bird houses, chains, saw blades, wood making tools, collars, PVC, black poly, 20 rotted tarps (and counting), Formica, car parts, tools, yard implements, trash, swings, and clothes.  Want a Cowboys jersey with “54” on it?  Randy White.  Chuck Howley.

We hoard.  We cram attics, basements, and storage locker(s).  Does we require it all to live well?  Will we really sell it for thousands?  How will we get to so many projects?  Maybe we think keeping future projects keeps Death overlooking us until we finish them all.  Not even our own kids care for most of our treasure.

I learned.  Again.  Recycle now.  Put it back in the economy.  Live with less.  Buy back space. Give to people in need.  Donate to help others with work.  Move out the 500 dollars of crap in the garage and pull in the $20,000+ car from the hail.

You’ll never sail that boat on your one acre lake from a dock you never built, let it go.

We’ve re-purposed over one point five acres.  Horses will graze there.  You?

You did not steal my soul

To the guy who stole my phone off the toilet paper holder in the bathroom at the Stillwater Public Library.  You lose.

At first I blamed myself.  Still do.  I will be more careful, for weeks, maybe months.  Maybe for always.  Probably months.

I then prayed for you, you know, “May God rub your nose in your guilt and cause bad crap to happen to you.”  Then I thought, you probably already have bad stuff happen, and worse, you think it’s normal.  I am sorry.  I retract the prayers!

I then remembered St. Paul’s audacious statement (Letter to Roman Church. 2:4) and thought to pray kindnesses to you.  Those kindnesses bring us to repent and turn from poop in our lives.  Hey, stealing is no sustainable lifestyle.  You can’t support someone you love and kids even if  you score a smart phone daily.  And you get caught sooner or later, and then she has no one to protect her and the kid(s).  That was you handing her the phone as I walked up and asked, wasn’t it?  She pocketed it and walked away as we talked.  You have her helping you do this stuff?  Think about that.  Be a man.  Don’t pin this poop on her like that.

So you cost me a few days with no phone.  Everyone made allowances.  New phone is here and downloaded (mostly) from the cloud.  So you showed me: yes, I carry it everywhere and use it a lot, but the &#*#&(&!! phone is not my soul.

Thank you.  I would have written sooner, but I thought to take the time to write a letter to someone I love when my phone was not intruding.

Maybe James was right: in all things give thanks.